I don’t know if it’s just me, but I find the idea that we are expected to decide what to do with the rest of our lives at age 17 or 18, a bit ridiculous. Not only that, but we’re also set a deadline, to rank in order of preference what we want to be doing and where we want to be for the next 3 or 4 years of our lives, before we even see our exam results.
Although it’s improving in more recent times, a further education option I feel is not advertised widely enough is the PLC (Post Leaving Certificate) option. These courses usually last a year, or sometimes two, and give an excellent foundation or idea of if the area is something you’d like to pursue further.
I entered my Leaving Cert year completely overwhelmed by the CAO, courses, and points. I don’t think I even knew what a PLC was until my mother told me about a college in our local town that offered these courses, and how it could be a good option for me due to how unsure I was, with everything from Drama to Midwifery on my CAO form at this stage!
I spent a year in a local Further Education college doing a Level 5 course in Social Studies and Psychology, and I can honestly say I will never regret it. It gave me such a good idea of what the whole area of Social Studies was about, and really made up my mind that it was something I wanted to continue on with and complete a degree in. It also helped that a lot of things I learnt during my PLC course, was then covered again in the 1st year of my degree, so I really felt like I had a good foundation and understanding.
Often a lot of these courses are made up of a mixture of school leavers and mature students of all ages, and I feel this brings so much diversity to the class and makes for some interesting conversations and debates, and really gives you a huge range of views on everything.
For people that don’t want to spend 3 or 4 years getting a degree, there are also so many PLCs that can send you straight into employment once you’re finished, another huge advantage. For those that may not have gotten the points they needed in their Leaving Cert, doing a PLC can help them get those points. Overall, I think that if you’re any way unsure about what course you’d like to do, or if you even want to continue on to a degree course at all, then a PLC is the way to go.
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